For the third year, Village of Matteson Trustee Adam Shorter and his wife Danielle Shorter are inviting the public to come out and enjoy Olivia’s Sickle Cell Awareness Party, for children with sickle cell, sickle beta thalassemia, and sickle cell trait. The event takes place on Sunday, September 22nd at the Matteson Community Center and will include dancing, food, face painting, balloon animals and more. The children’s party is from 11 am to 4 pm. Blood donations will also be accepted.
Olivia Shorter, who is turning 9 years old this month, was born with sickle cell disease, an inherited blood disorder that causes anemia, lung and tissue damage, strokes and terrible pain. 90% of all sickle cell disease patients in the United States occur in people of African descent.
“It’s really tough on her. When she isn’t sick, she is getting over a cold or on her way to get another blood transfusion,” said Danielle Shorter.
The idea for the event began while planning her 7th birthday a few years ago. Olivia decided she didn’t want a big party or toys. She wanted to celebrate her birthday by bringing awareness to sickle cell. Over 200 guests attended the event in its first year, 75 of which donated blood.
“Olivia said instead of having a party, she wanted to have a fundraiser.” Trustee Shorter said.
Her efforts caught the attention of The American Red Cross, which named her their 2018 Blood Services Hero. Olivia and the Shorter family were honored that spring at the organization’s annual Heroes Breakfast, held downtown Chicago in front of nearly 1,000 attendees.
That same summer, the Shorter family took a trip to Washington D.C. where Olivia urged several members of Congress to help children like herself.
September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month, here’s what you can do to help:
- Register to donate blood:
- Make a monetary donation:
- Become an event sponsor: